It was a terrible life for someone like me.
No one else seemed to have any issues with that specifically. That's not to say they didn't have any issues with it at all, for the life we all lead was definitely unpleasant no matter how you looked at it. It's just that I was the only one out of us all who was claustrophobic.
We were all pretty alike; we came in different colours and shapes and sizes, sure, but everyone was made up of the same stuff on the inside. We knew this, of course, because we saw each others' insides on a daily basis. But none of the others had to deal with the claustrophobia the whole time.
Here's a breakdown of a typical day.
We we start off appearing in the sky above a pit, having no idea how we got there, and then we fall. Just fall. No parachute, nothing, we're just free-falling from dizzying heights. Sometimes strange winds come and spin us every which-way, making the dizziness worse. For some that might be a little frightening, but for me it's the only good part. Up in the air, it's not crowded.
Then we hit the ground. Or the first ones do, anyway. We generally survive this; we're built pretty tough. But the next ones to land fall right on top of us, packed in like sardines. More and more, until the entire ground is covered with our bodies. Packed in tight. I always feel like I can't breathe. I panic.
Then comes the worst part.
Well, for the others anyway. I can't help but think it's really just an escape from the endless expanse of smothering forms, but it's not exactly pleasant, that's for sure.
What happens is that as soon as the ground is completely covered with us, we start dying. Any part of us that's touching the ground is torn away and disintegrated. It's just as gruesome as it sounds. But then, of course, the rest of our bodies fall to the ground, only to meet the same fate. It's an infinitely painful process, but like I said, I'm usually just glad that it will all be over soon.
It's wishful thinking.
You see, the reason I can tell this story, and with such detatchment, is that this is our lives. It happens every day, for reasons unknown. We die, and then we suddenly wake up in the sky again to repeat to process. It's been this way for as long as anyone can remember.
But then we decided to do something about it.
The first guy to fall today is the guy who organized the whole thing. We call him T. He has this theory about the whole thing. It's absurd, but we really have nothing to lose by trying it, so we are going to give him the benefit of the doubt. If it doesn't work we've just wasted another useless day.
What he thinks is that if we don't completely cover the ground, we won't be killed. It's crazy, but it just might work.
So this guy, T, he fights the winds that spin us around like a madman and manages to land on his feet. Then he holds his arms out to catch another one of us, and someone lands beside him. And that's it. We've created a hole.
We wait to see what will happen, and for the longest time, it seems like he's right. We keep piling up, and nobody is dying anymore. For me, it's hell because it's even more crowded than usual, but for everyone else, it's salvation.
Then things went sour.
People started dying in the middle of the pile. No one had any idea why or how, but eventually even T slipped up and someone got under his arms. When the day was done, everyone had died. We had accomplished nothing. And to make matters worse, I was one of the last ones to go.
For a while, T gave up. He had been right, and it still didn't help. I think it really got him down. He was convinced we could never escape this pit.
But one day, he came to us with another idea. We were going to try the same thing again, with a little difference.
T lands on his feet again today, and again catches someone. The piling up starts again, but this time instead of only T making a gap, there are gaps everywhere. Some people still died, some people lost parts of their body, but it was working. Soon, we were nearly at the top of the pit. And I was one of the last to land.
Now here I am, standing level with the top of the pit, standing at the exact height we usually fall from. I am not claustrophobic up here, I am free.
But something is happening. Everything is fading. It's getting dark. Black almost, and it's showing no signs of stopping. People are panicking, but T keeps order. He tells us that something is trying to scare us, to make us slip up. But we will not falter, he assures us, we will escape this hell.
From the top, looking down, I am unsure.
It's nearly black now, I can't even see myself.
And then the music starts.
It doesn't sound good, but it's different. I hadn't even realized until now that music had been playing, but it had, all day every day until we had just grown used to it and tuned it out. But now it has changed. And, in the pitch black abyss that is the pit, I can make out two words.